It's only been like two months since the last blog post, but there's good reasons for it! We've been plenty busy. It's literally what I'm here to tell you about.
PERSONAL HISTORY Some of you may have seen that our latest feature has had a great run this spring. In the last two months we screened at First City Film Festival, Kansas City Film Festival International and Red Dirt Film Festival. We even managed to pull in an award at First City for Best Feature Film! We're very happy with how the film's festival run has turned out. We set higher goals this time around and in many ways, achieved them. That said, it's time for this chapter to come to an end as we will be releasing the film on digital very soon. July 8th, in fact! The roll out will be similar to our previous films, showing up on Vimeo OnDemand first to buy or rent. Then we will see about other platforms. I'm doing my best to put together a really cool package of special features to go along with the movie. Hope you'll check it out when it comes out!
Polaroid from the PERSONAL HISTORY screening at KC Film Fest 2023 (Featuring: Lolo Loren, Patrick Poe, Tyler W. Moore and Jillian Terrell. Photo by Mickey Clark)
A SCRIPT CALLED MISERY (COMICS IN GENERAL) Here's some news you probably thought you'd never hear. Or you're like, "What the hell is that? I've never heard of that". Our studio's first comic book series, A SCRIPT CALLED MISERY, which hit an unfortunate hiatus near the end of 2020, will finally continue with Issue 4. I wrote previously about how the final two issues (4 and 5) were completely penciled last spring. With everything we've had going on, finding the time to finish them was near impossible. There were several false starts. Trust me, I wanted it to happen. Getting this project finished and out has been a weight on my shoulders that, hopefully soon, I won't have to bear anymore. Issue 4 is completely finished and I've already started work on Issue 5. It is my intention to release Issue 4 next month. Issue 5, will be later in the year. The page count on this one will a good amount small than the previous three chapters. That said, the amount of script contained in them is about the same. I chose to do a more economical approach to paneling this time around. The same will go for the next one. You may notice a very slight shift in art style as I am now illustrating the final two books. I've tried to keep the same approach as Beth's original vision, but there will obviously be deviations. Expect Issue 4 on May 6th!
As for our other comic, THE DOG PARK, we teased that Volume 2 should be happening this year. While that is looking harder to promise, I will be sure to get SOMETHING out for that series before the year's end. Our work load turned out to be quite a bit more than we initially anticipated. That said, this project's importance has not waned one iota.
OTHER GREAT NEWS For a couple months over here at IC, we were all talking behind the scenes saying, "You know what we should do? We should get Roy and Gina to join the team". After not doing that for a while, we took a different approach and did! So you heard it here first! Roy Nugen and Gina Bryant have official joined Illumination Cinema. They've been working in the art department of our last couple shorts as well as producing the other upcoming short HOLE IN THE GROUND. We're very happy to welcome them to the studio and can't wait to get started on yet another project with them. But first...
If I told you being in post-production for three short films at the same time is pretty time consuming, would you believe me? The aforementioned HOLE IN THE GROUND is actually pretty much done. Just a couple final tweaks to do on the sound mix. BLINDSIGHT is also well on its way to being complete, though there are several more weeks of work to go on that one. Finally, we did a final day of shooting on the Fritz Robinson produced short, DEATH IN LAVENDER. The final reel of 16mm footage just came back early this week with 4K scans for us to edit with. That one will go through the whole process next.
Also coming up, our short film from a couple years ago, CARRIER PIGEON, will be screening at the Bird Watching Film Festival in Kansas City, MO. Be sure to check that out if you're in the area. Or you can drive several hours to come see it. That's up to you. It's happening April 26th at the Bird Comedy Theater.
Okay. This post is getting long. I told you we were busy. I gotta wrap this up. Last thing I'll mention is that Jillian will be making her first podcast appearance next week when we do a new episode on the movie Renfield! That should be very exciting. Hope you'll all check that out.
Alright. That's it. I swear. See you in another two months. Maybe less this time. Who knows.
Why make an update today when another month could go by without one, right? Oops! Slipped up a little bit there. We've been so busy doing stuff, it's been a little hard to sit down and unpack it all in a long form update like this. I guess I'll do my best here.
THE DOG PARK It's here, folks! THE DOG PARK is finally available to everyone for purchase. We're trying something new by making paperback copies available directly through our website. We'll see how well that works. It is also available digitally through VHX and Amazon. There will be one more platform soon. But that will be an update for later. The VHX version will be the "Deluxe Digital Edition". This means it will include bonus material such as fully voiced motion comics! The first two chapters are currently available in that form with the other three soon to follow. There's been a bit of a delay getting that ready much to our chagrin. We'll be catching up very soon. We kicked off the release at ICT Comic Con and had a great time doing it! Probably one of our best convention experiences. Comics were sold, much fun was had. Maybe next year we can do a couple conventions, instead of our usual one. We'll see. Also, we are still producing our companion podcast series, THE DOG PARK PODCAST, we'll be going in depth with every chapter about how each story came together behind the scenes. Should be a lot of fun, so tune in!
FESTIVALS Speaking of fun, we recently went to No Coast Film Festival and had an absolute blast! CARRIER PIGEON screened along side many great shorts in an absolutely gorgeous theater. This November, we'll be going to Claremore, OK to see WISH YOU WERE HERE at the Will Rogers Motion Picture Festival.
STORE PAGE Notice anything new? We now have a dedicated store page for all of our films, books and now merch that we have available. It's still a bit of a work in progress, but a single page seemed like the best way to display all the options everyone has for everything we've been making. Go give it a look!
OTHER NEWS We've been working on a new film this summer and leading into the coming months. It's been a lot of work, but should be well worth it. It's not really something we're ready to talk about in detail just yet, but we will soon. Keep an eye out for that.
Also, anyone who was paying attention may have noticed, but our Twitch Thursday streams have come to an end. There were several reasons for this, but it was a fun experiment while it lasted. We may still pop in occasionally for a one off. For now, you can enjoy this archive page.
Lastly, we're well into this season of our movie podcast. We still have some exciting episodes coming up. The newest one being a long teased Robert Rodriguez episode. (Seriously, we said we'd do it in our first episode like 6 or 7 years ago) Stay tuned for those as well.
That's all we have for you for now. Big announcements are still to come. Like, pretty big. You'll know. Can't miss it!
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that not only have we not posted about the release of our newest short film here on the blog, but I haven't mentioned it at any stage of its production. That said, it has been a busy year and we have talked about it elsewhere!
CARRIER PIGEON is the newest short film directed by David J. Cantu! It follows a teenager as he takes a seemingly easy paper route in order to earn some extra cash, only to wind up in a turf war with a local biker gang. The concept was originally developed in the early days of IC by Jamie Zin and I as a short film Jamie would direct. That film never happened and the script collected dust in the years since. However, in 2020, it became clear that once things were back up and running, it would be a good time to shoot a new short with Cantu and this was my first suggestion as far as scripts were concerned. He and I worked on a new draft to punch it up and fit his sensibilities and I think it works very well as a goofy summer comedy. Pretty much the whole short was shot on an iPhone, not only to keep things simple, but to also keep equipment light for chase scenes and anything close quarters. It was a fun shoot, but as the cinematographer, I don't know if I'd shoot a whole movie on a phone again any time soon. It certainly had its limitations. We hope you enjoy the short, which can be viewed HERE. We don't plan for much of a festival run for this one, if any, but we'll let you know if there is any news on that front.